published Saturday, December 15th, 2012

Craig Fitzhugh weighs challenge to Gov. Bill Haslam

NASHVILLE — Republican Gov. Bill Haslam could see a 2014 challenge from state House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, a Nashville newspaper reported Thursday.

The City Paper reported that Fitzhugh is planning to run, citing sources.

"I wouldn't rule it out at all," he told the City Paper.

"I've got some experience, good, bad or otherwise," he said. "And feel like I understand the issues of this state, understand the budgetary process and just am concerned with some of the fundamentals of our state. Before we step too far back, we just need to keep things moving forward."

Fellow Democrats on Wednesday re-elected Fitzhugh, a former House Finance Committee chairman, as caucus leader.

He told the City Paper that a "viable statewide candidate" could also help Democratic candidates at lower levels "and we can start bringing our House back."

"We're in a tough position, and we're in a crossroad where we could just continue to be small and let people sort of run over us, let the other side run over us," he said. "Or we can start clawing our way back. So I think that's what our people want to do."

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